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ROAD TOWN
The spacious harbour Capital

   
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B-V-I Guide
Nearby Locations on the Sir Francis Drake Channel
Nanny Cay
Road Town

Maya Cove
Fat Hog's Bay

 

Page Contents
Crafts Alive Village
Cruise Ship Dock
Ferry Dock
Ft. Burt
Main Street Shops
Port Purcell

Prospect Reef
Road Reef
The Moorings Marina
Village Cay Center
   & Dockside Dining

Wickham's Cay
Wickham's Cay II

Road Town, the Capital of the British Virgin Islands, surrounds the Harbour like an amphitheater, its buildings stretching up into the hillsides in search of scarce land.

The spacious, beautiful harbour at Road Town is a busy center of island life and marine activity in this tropical archipelago.

All roads lead to Road Town, as government, businesses, cruise ships, charter boats, hotels, shops--all are here in Road Town. See map and another.

Beneath its placid tropical exterior, Road Town is very much an international city, at the crossroads of a continuing Caribbean maritime culture of upscale tourism and offshore finance.

Wickham's Cay on the Inner Harbour

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A protected mini-harbour, the Inner Harbour is formed by two large island "jettys," Wickham's Cay II on the left (with Port Purcell on the far shore) and Wickham's Cay I (often simply called Wickham's Cay) on the right, adjoining the Main Street area. The cruise ship pier juts out at the far right.

Road Town's most important area comprises the Ferry Dock, important portal, as well as the Main Street area, whose focus is an attractive area of shops, and Wickham's Cay, the location of the cruise ship dock and many activities.

Two other areas of note are Wickham's Cay II and Port Purcell, further around to the back of the harbour, and Road Reef with Ft. Burt and Prospect Reef near the harbour's port entrance.

Wickham's Cay  Area

Ferry Dock

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(Paradise Vacations)
Off the port side of the harbour is the heart of Road Town. The ferry dock (see schedules), with customs, is a bustling scene of travelers, some from foreign island nations. Rental cars are available. CarRentals.com compares rates from all the major car rentals.

Touring
Wickham's Cay

Turn toward the harbour at the intown "round-a bout" to reach Wickham's Cay. Turn again toward the water where buildings extend out to the street, into a small parking lot at the Village Cay Marina. This is a good spot to disembark to explore this area by foot.

Cruise ship visitors, who want to stretch their "shopping" legs on land, can browse on the cay at the shops on Wickham's Cay.

The best location for shopping is across at quaint Main Street. Head toward the nearest hillsides across Waterfront Drive.

Main Street. Ashore is Main Street, Road Town's most important area for visitors. Opposite the ferry, Sir Olva Georges Plaza interconnects Main Street across Waterfront Drive. The Post Office and the Virgin Island Folk Museum are here. aClearGIF15h-15w.gif (829 bytes)

Shops

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Simply cross Waterfront Drive at many points, or go through the Plaza across from the ferry, and begin a charming shopping tour of Main Street.

Touring by Water

Boaters can mark a course about 292º from Burt Point's green buoy toward the ferry docks (on a line with the "purple palace" of the Bougainvillea Clinic in the hills above). Anchor out below the ferry dock with Exotic yachts from around the world and dinghy in to the town dock. Watch the surge and boat traffic.

Another anchoring area is off Wickham's Cay II at its water entrance. Dinghy into its sheltered waters: to the Village Cay restaurant on the port side for touring and provisioning as well as to The Moorings on the starboard side.

Administration Building. Further inland from the cruise ship pier is the large white BVI Government's Administration Building, with many offices including the Attorney General's Office and the Registrar's Office for weddings.

Wickham's Cay and Main Street area near the ferry dock is the center of an authentic Caribbean town with an attractive area of shops (some old West Indian style with red tin roofs) and restaurants amid various other establishments in the Main Street area, which hugs the harbour-side mountains.
 

Cruise Ship Dock

On the entrance tip of Wickham's Cay, the cruise ship dock holds giant cruise ships at the center of the majestic Road Town amphitheater (photo: Panoramio).
 
 
 

Village Cay Center

A popular and well designed center of activity, Village Cay Marina (284/494-2771) has daily, weekly and monthly slips, ice, water, electricity, cable TV, spa, garbage and oil disposal, and all the yachtman's needs (photo: Marinas.com).
 

The White Squall II, an 80' schooner offering daysails, is located here. On one dock is the Inner Harbour Marina with The Catamaran Company, BVI Scuba Co., We Be Divin' and The Ample Hamper Too.

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Wickham's Cay Shops & Dining

Crafts Alive Village

At the lower end of Wickham's Cay toward the ferry dock, Crafts Alive Village offers a great collection of small shops for local crafts and a wide variety of products (photo: Cruise Timetables).

D'Zandra's (Wickham's Cay 284/494-8330) specializes in black coral jewelry.

Sea Urchin

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The Wickham's Cay branch (284/494-4108) is housed in an old mill. Specializing in island and beach wear from sandals and sun dresses to island-print shirts and swimsuits, the Sea Urchin also has a branch  in the Main Street Area (284/ 494-2044) as well

Violet's (Wickham's Cay 284/494-6398) sells elegant lingerie as well as luggage, if you happen to have lost yours on the flight.

Colombian Emeralds

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Facing Waterfront Drive, Colombian Emeralds is a jewelry chain with many locations worldwide.
 
Flamboyance (Waterfront Drive 284/494-4099) carries upscale cosmetics and a large variety of perfumes, both women's and men's, including Cartier (So Pretty and Declaration), Calvin Klein (Contradiction) and Christian Dior (Dolce Vita).

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Touring
Close
to the marinas on the Inner Harbour on Wickham's Cay is the focal point Village Cay complex, with restaurants including its own Village Cay and the nearby Captain's Table and Fish Trap.

A nice stroll here is on the marina docks as well as along the sidewalk on the Inner Harbour seawall.

Continuing on leads to a large flat space that comprises the off-loading area for the cruise ships, with an area for vendors as well.

These magnificent, sometimes gleaming white ships dominate their immediate area, but appear as mere toys sitting in Road Town's vast "amphitheatre."

The way these small mountains surround this huge harbour creates an almost circular panorama.

It is exhilerating to experience this incredible landscape from the center of this open expanse at ground level. Perhaps it's the way the cruise ship, so overpowering in size itself, is in turn so overwhelmed by nature's majestic work.

Further over is the Sea Urchin in an colorful old mill.

Up near the round-a-bout is Bolo's variety store and  Zodiac's restaurant. A short walk down the interior mall takes you back to Wickham's Cay near the Lime telephone company, now further down and across the street.

Continue this tour by going to the Main Street Shops. Simply head to Waterfront Drive and turn left, taking the first right after the ferry.

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Village Cay Dockside Dining

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Right on the water, it's dinghy dock pictured here, the Village Cay restaurant (494-2771) serves local fish such a Mahi-Mahi and Wahoo and other items from its outdoor grilling station. The Tuesday and Thursday buffets feature hot and cold West Indian fare. Village Cay is a meeting point for boaters, locals and business and leisure guests.

Dinghy dock. In the foreground is the dinghy dock which can be used when visiting this side of town.

Captin's Table. Also, further around on the point, overlooking the harbour on a open-air shaded balcony, the Captin's Table (284/ 494-3885) restaurant has an extensive menu and wine list. Its excellent food has a French flavor including seafood and Herbed Rack of Lamb.

Cafesito (284/494-7412), with a romantic atrium, has excellent food and Spainish tapas.


Also at the round-a-about
, Bobby's Market Place (email) is a supermarket and the favorite provisioner of many with a huge selection of fresh produce, meats, baked goods, wines and liquors, decent prices and free delivery.

At the intown round-a-about, or traffic circle, Bolo's (284/494-2867) is a popular variety store.

The Farmers' Market (located just above Wickham's Cay at the round-a-bout), is open on Saturdays with locally grown farm products.

Little Switzerland

On Administration Drive (284/494-3730), Little Switzerland has jewelry, including rings, bands, bracelets, gemstones and pendants ($12 clamshell key chain photo: Little Switzerland).

Lodging. The largest selection of  hotels, inns and resorts for every budget are available in Road Town. Most are close to the harbour. See Hotels, Inns and Resorts at Road Town for more information. Pictured here is the Village Cay Hotel, right on the docks of Wickham's Cay and a favorite of boaters. Here also is Marie's By The Sea.

Wickham's Cay II and Port Purcell

Touring Wickham's Cay II

Coming into Road Town from the airport, you will be pleasantly surprised by the modern four lane divided highway. On the inland side is a modern supermarket, the Riteway, the best in the BVI.
On the harbour side is the entrance to Wickham Cay II. Take its namesake road and you will come to The Moorings, a chance to tour its docks and dine at its outdoor cafe. Or get a pastry at DeliFrance.

Contining on the four lane, on the inland side is the Treasure Isle hotel. At least give its circular entry loop a spin. Note also the possibility of a very fine experience inside.

For boaters, the first "A" dock at The Moorings is available for transients (VHF 12)-- a great place to stop for serious provisioning (10 minute walk to Riteway).

The Main Street stores and restaurants of the "downtown" Wickham's Cay I area is but a nice short dingy ride by water across the marina. A good dinghy dock is at the Village Cay dockside restaurant at the opposite seaward corner. By land, the trip is longer but a long walk or a short cab ride.
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Treasure Isle

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The Lime and Mango's verandah overlooking the harbour is great for cocktails at sunset.

Treasure Isle has a pool alongside the Spy Glass Bar, whose open air lounge offers great views of the harbour.

The Moorings Marina.
Further around to the starboard (right) back side of the Road Town Harbour is the Moorings Marina with The Moorings, the famous chartering company, its subsidiary Footloose Charters, Sail Caribbean Divers, Last Stop Sports (watersports), and various stores.
Groceries & Provisions. This is the area for serious grocery shopping and provisioning with the largest Riteway Supermarket branch (8AM-10PM Mon-Sat & 8AM-8PM Sun)(similar to an American supermarket with great air-conditioning), K-Mark's Gourmet Galley, and Tico Importing Co. (at the entrance to Wickham's Cay II, 284/494-2211), with a large variety of discounted and wholesale fine wines and spirits. Across the side street from Riteway is their Cash & Carry Wholesale outlet for volume purchase discounts. See Groceries & Provisions.

Dining.
The Moorings Mariner Inn
restaurant offers sailors and others great burgers and rotis for lunch as well as dinners such as rack of lamb.

Charlie's dockside restaurant at The Moorings has an eclectic Italian and Caribbean menu.

DeliFrance, actually a French bakery, has great breads, deli meats, cheeses, sandwiches and pastries. Yum!

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Port Purcell

Touring. Port Purcell occupies the Road Town harbour shore across from Wickham Cay II, away from the Inner Harbour. Coming into Road Town by Waterfront Drive from the airport, Port Purcell is on the left on the harbour after Baugher's Bay. 

Here is BVI Yacht Charters, Ltd. (at Yoma Marina) and the "real" Port Purcell, the BVI's main port for large cargo ships.

Groceries and Provisions.
One Mart Superstore
, at Port Purcell, is a large supermarket and provisioner with a huge range of products and excellent meat, all at competitive prices.

Caribbean Cellars, also at Port Purcell, has liquor, beer, and wine.

BVI Fishing Complex (284-494-3491), nearby at Baugher's Bay, has fresh local seafood.

Dining.
C & F Restaurant (at  Purcell Estate, 284/494-4941), run by Clarence, a talented local chef and his wife Florence, is very popular with good food at reasonable prices, such as local seafood cooked any style you want (try the grilled swordfish), barbequed fare, and West Indian dishes.

The "Bat Cave" has re-opened at nearby Baugher's Bay as the famous party place of old as well as a similar restaurant to the old Spaghetti Junction.

Lodging. The largest selection of hotels, inns and resorts for every budget are available in Road Town. Most are close to the harbour. See Hotels, Inns and Resorts at Road Town for more information. The Treasure Isle Hotel and the Moorings/Mariner Inn are in this part of Road Town.

Road Reef, Ft. Burt and Prospect Reef

Fort Burt

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Fort Burt Hotel has rooms partly built on the remains of a 17th Century Dutch Fort. Originally built on a hill with commanding views overlooking the harbour to defend Road Town, the fort was rebuilt by the English in 1776, and named after William Burt, Governor of the Leeward Islands. Free and open daily from dawn to dusk, the foundations and magazine remain of this historic ruin. Now run by Pusser's, food and beverage is available at the onsite restaurant.

 

 

Don't miss Prospect Reef, a little further on to the water side leaving Road Town.

 

 

 

 

Road Reef, protecting the harbour at its port entrance, is an extensive reef reaching around Burt Point from the Fort Burt and Road Reef marinas on the inside to Prospect Reef Resort on the outside facing the Sir Francis Drake Channel.

Touring
Continuing on Waterfront Drive, look on the inland side up a steep hill for the big attraction in this area, Fort Burt--Tortola's most intact historic ruin.

Inside the harbour, a buoyed channel reaches the Fort Burt Marina, with transient slips, fuel, water, ice).
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This area
is the home of Conch Charters, Paradise Pub, Island Marine Supply Store, an excellent marine chandlery, a dinghy engine repair shop, and Elm Sail Makers. Across the street is the Ft. Burt Hotel.

Ft. Burt Roof

For sailors approaching this side of the Road Town Harbour, Road Reef is marked by the gold roof of the fine restaurant at Ft. Burt Hotel

tmmbareboatvacationslogoicon.jpg (2327 bytes)A channel leads further on to Road Reef Marina, home of TMM Bareboat Vacations. Nearby is a small convenience Riteway Market.
Prospect Reef Resort is fully on the Sir Francis Drake Channel with its own navigable harbour, on whose shores are found boat tours,  Rainbow Visions photography, and many excellent services  

Swimming with Dolphins!
Dolphin Discovery is found at Prospect Reef' with its unique lagoons rich in sea life.

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Touring
Where
the road narrows between the hillside and the harbour is The Pub, a favorite hangout for boaters and a good spot for a mini-tour of a working marine area.

Dining.

The Pub (284/494-3311), also called Paradise Pub, is popular with boaters and has good fare on a veranda overlooking the harbour and a sandbar where boats often go aground. A great spot to watch the sun go down!

Drake's Point (284/494-2587 facebook), at Fort Burt Hotel, has Italian food prepared by culinary students, with great views to the harbour.

Brisani’s Restaurant, Bar & Lounge (284/494-2593) at Prospect Reef Resort offers international cuisine with a Caribbean flavor.

Further on near the curve in Waterfront Drive is Arawak Interiors at the Road Reef Plaza on the right.
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Shops. Arawak Interiors, showroom at Road Reef Plaza (see review), features quality Indonesian furniture, including custom teak beds as well as decorative items like bamboo bowls. Arawak Interiors Bali furniture made from old Balinese fishing boats was used to renovate the Copper Island Beach Club a few years ago.

Lodging

The largest selection of  hotels, inns and resorts for every budget are available in Road Town. Most are close to the harbour. See Hotels, Inns and Resorts at Road Town for more information.

For the adventurous, there is a taxi drive trip into the clouds above Road Town to visit Skyworld.

For romantics, Brandywine Bay is an elegant restaurant in a great setting.

Dining near Road Town Skyworld. Many travelers, especially first timers, like to visit SkyWorld (284/494-3567) on the mountain above Road Town. See a review of Skyworld at Life on Ridge Road.

Brandywine Bay. A lovely romantic hillside country inn, Brandywine Bay (for dinner only) offers an acclaimed Florentine cuisine by chef Davide Pugliese at Brandywine Bay, a taxi ride toward the East End Airport.


BVI Yacht Charters, Ltd.

Charter Boats at or near Road Town Most BVI boat chartering companies are here in Road Harbour and nearby locations on the inland (Sir Francis Drake Channel) side of Tortola. For the location of charter boats, see Charter in the BVIs for more information.
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